Field of View Explained: Getting the Right Angle

Before setting up a security camera, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with a few key points to ensure that you get the best angle for the footage. Depending on the landscape you want to monitor, the type of lens you choose, and the viewing angle you set up will make all difference.


What is the Field of View?

Before you do anything with a best security camera, it is important to understand some basic information. First of all, what is "field of view"? Many conflicting resources explain this subject and, understanding it is important before getting started.

Most of the confusion stems from trying to define the difference between the field of view and angle of view. Some people believe these two terms to be interchangeable, while others think there is a slight difference.

For this article, the field of view (FOV) of a security camera, also called the viewing angle, is what the camera can capture or see. You measure the FOV in degrees.

More on this in the section below.

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Understanding FOV When Choosing a Lens

Before selecting a lens for your surveillance needs, you’ll also want to have a basic understanding of what the different types of camera lenses do.

Your second most important consideration for picking a lens? What type of landscape do you want to capture. Are you looking to capture the overall big picture? Or do you want to see a small space in great detail? Determine what the FOV of interest is before deciding on the type of lens to use.

Check out our breakdown of different types of viewing angles to help guide your decision:


The Different Viewing Angles For Your Camera

  • Superwide-angle: This type of lens creates a “fisheye” effect and covers a viewing angle of 180° or more.

  • Wide Angle: Lenses covering a viewing angle of between 110 and 60 degrees, representing an effective focal length of 10mm to about 25mm.

  • Standard/Medium: Lenses covering a viewing angle of 60 to 25 degrees, representing an effective focal length of 25mm to 65mm.

  • Telephoto: Lenses that cover a viewing angle of 25 to 10 degrees, which corresponds to a focal length of 65mm to 160mm.

  • Super telephoto: Lenses that cover a viewing angle of 10 to 1 degrees, 160mm to 600mm focal length.


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Picking The Right Camera to Capture The Shot You Want

A wide-angle lens camera captures more objects but fewer details.

This angle is ideal if you are looking to surveil a large landscape. Wide-angle lens cameras are a popular option for businesses and larger spaces. This type of lens can capture the overall picture of any unusual activity or movement on the property.

If you are looking to capture something specific or highly detailed, this will not be a good lens option for you. If you need to capture fewer objects but in a greater detail, a narrow-angle camera lens is a better choice.

Telephoto lens cameras capture objects in the distance, making them appear closer based on the actual focal length of the lens. A telephoto lens is ideal for securing your home or personal property.

It is important to know that when it comes to using a telephoto lens, the shorter the focal length is, the wider the view will be. This will limit the quality of the actual footage you are capturing.

If you are still unsure of what type of camera lens is best for you, we are happy to help. Get in touch with our team for assistance.


Updated September 15, 2021